David Morely, UNICEF Canada’s Executive Director, has just issued a bold challenge. “It is clearly time for Canada to prioritize children when planning budgets and spending our nation’s resources, even in tough economic times,” says a press release announcing the publication of a report on child poverty.
In fact, the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card released today is the 10th in a regular series on child poverty in rich countries, each report hitting the headlines every second year or so.
Sadly, when it comes to discussions of child poverty kick-started by these reports there are two things that are not new: the conclusions; and the reaction of pundits and many policy makers. I say “sadly” because the two are not linked, and public policy discussion is not the better.
Continue reading “The sad, sad story of the UNICEF Child Poverty Report and its critics”
President Obama appointed Rebecca Blank—a capable, no-nonsense, PhD in economics, and a former Dean at the University of Michigan—to his new administration, and told her to answer a simple question: how should the United States measure poverty?
Diane Finley, the Conservative government’s Minister responsible for social policy, is not exactly Canada’s Becky Blank. She might certainly be capable, and she might certainly be no-nonsense, but to be honest she doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with the American academic turned policy-maker: except, of course, that in Canada Ms. Finley is ultimately the person responsible for poverty measurement.
Both women have pulled off quiet revolutions by recognizing that the poverty line should evolve over time: as the things needed to participate normally in society change, so should the poverty line.
Continue reading “Diane Finley and Rebecca Blank meet Adam Smith: moving poverty lines are in”